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21

gripping his arm, through the crowd toward the bank build-
ing, where he knew the meeting was to be.

" And it won't do you no harm, Perse.. You're a smart man,
and a man like you is bound to be getting into politics some
of these days, and-ówell, this thing won't do you no harm."

"I'm not planning to go into politics," Mr. Munn replied.
Not planning to, no, not exactly, he told himself, even though
it had sometimes presented itself to his mind as a possibility
for the future. " No," he went on, shaking his head, " I've got
enough to do already with my farm and my law practice."
But, as he spoke, he was almost aware of the discomfort of a
lie, for what had, in the past, never seemed more than a day-
dream, a remote possibility out of many possibilities, now
rose like a certainty before his mind, solid and beckoning.

But by the time they turned in at the side door of the bank
building the certainty had disappeared before the logical,
sceptical scrutiny of his mind, which was his natural attitude,
and before the satisfaction he took in his life as it now was.
Politicians were slaves, he had sometimes told himself, dis-
pelling the casual speculations in the past; and if he desired
anything of life, that thing was to be free, and himself.

When he entered the long, shabby room above the bank,
shoved in by Mr. Christian, he was aware of the surprise that
touched the faces of the men already there about the baize-
covered table, a surprise that did not disappear, but was only
mitigated, when Mr. Christian promptly followed, and shut
the door.

" I just ran into Mr. Munn here," Mr. Christian said, " and
I brought him along. Now Perse, he's a smart man, gentle-
men, and he might jtell you all something," Mr, Christian
strode to the table, laid his black hat on the green baize, and
swept his eyes over the group, but with a glance that seemed
to linger infinitesimally on the face of each man.

Good Lord, Mr. Munn thought, he's bullying the lot; he
just brought me to show he could do it if he wanted without
asking. Then he heard Mr. Christian saying, "I knew you
be glad I brought him."